“The Tonight Show” Lays Off Several Staffers, Leno Accepts Pay Cut


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Kevin Winter/Tonight Show/Getty Images for The Tonight Show(LOS ANGELES) — NBC’s The Tonight Show has laid off between 20 and 25 of its employees, and host Jay Leno has accepted a pay cut in order to save the jobs of other staffers, according to Deadline.com.

A source tells the website, “I don’t think ad sales are off.  I just think the people who bought this company, Comcast, wants to go through everything at NBC and get their money back.”

According to The Los Angeles Times, Leno’s weekly budget for his late-night program will be slashed from approximately $2.3 million per week — the same amount spent on his ill-fated NBC primetime talk show a few years ago — to approximately $1.7 million.  The latter total was the approximate weekly budget for The Tonight Show before Leno handed over his job to Conan O’Brien, who left the network in 2010.

Leno himself reportedly had been making between $25 million and $30 million per year.  The Los Angeles Times reports he’ll now make around $20 million. 

The pay cut won’t affect Leno too much, because as The Hollywood Reporter’s Matthew Belloni explains, Leno has said in the past that “he lives on the money that he makes from his touring and his stand-up shows.”

Leno’s CBS rival, David Letterman, accepted a pay cut and a budget reduction three years ago.

A rep for The Tonight Show tells multiple media outlets, “Jay’s foremost concern is for the wonderful people who work for The Tonight Show.  He did what was necessary to ensure their well-being.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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